The Kerala government on Sunday commenced the registration process for bringing back people from the state stranded in various countries once the Centre gives the nod and air services resume.
The process was set in motion in line with a recent state government order that the expatriates wishing to return home can register on the website of the Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) department after getting themselves tested for COVID-19 and obtaining a negative certificate, official sources said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on arranging special flights to bring the stranded Indians, especially from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations.
The Centre was also thinking in terms of bringing back non-resident Indians, Vijayan said at a meeting he held with collectors, medical officers and police officials of the 14 districts on Sunday through video conferencing. Thousands of people were waiting to return and all measures should be taken keeping this in mind, he said adding the airports should have testing facilities.
The quarantine facilities should also be near the airports, he said. Those with expired visiting visas, the aged, pregnant women, children, critically ill patients, students who have completed their courses and others are among the large numbers of people who are waiting to return from foreign countries, especially the Gulf nations.
The state government order has specifically mentioned that the registration is for arranging quarantine facilities in the state, if necessary, and not for getting any priority on flight bookings.
After the NRKs register themselves, the government would draw up a list on how to bring them back as per priority. There has been a huge demand from the NRKs, settled in various parts of the globe to return to their home state due to the COVID-19 situation.
Once the lockdown is lifted and air services resume, the government is expecting a huge influx of NRKs and Malayalees living in other states to come back to Kerala.